Post 26/11 reflections: ‘Mumbai attacks were a result of Pakistan’s flawed policy’

Cables say Petraeus dubbed Mumbai attacks as a ‘9/11 moment’ for Pakistan.

Saba Imtiaz August 31, 2011


According to a December 2008 US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi felt that the terrorist attacks in India on November 26, 2008 were a result of Pakistan’s flawed policy.

The cable, which has details of meetings between then-US Centcom chief General David Petraeus and Italian officials, features Berlusconi recounting that former president Pervez Musharraf had once told him that “he closed an eye” to keep peace and “now Pakistan was reaping the consequences of that choice”.

The cable states that “Berlusconi advocated pushing international financial institutions to help Pakistan but only on condition that the government of Pakistan takes serious action against terrorist and extremist groups on its soil.”

Berlusconi also told Petraeus that he had talked to President Asif Ali Zardari at Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request, and had “reinforced the need to crack down on Pakistan’s indigenous Taliban.”

Petraeus, for his part, said that the Mumbai attacks were a ‘9/11 moment’ for Pakistan. He said that the “Zardari government now must contend with the fact that the fundamentalist movements Pakistan once nurtured and harboured now represent an existential threat to Pakistan that constitutes a greater threat than the one posed by India. He added that Pakistan’s economy was also nearing collapse, and that it had been down to three weeks of foreign exchange before the International Monetary Fund bridge loan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.